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, and children have been massacred by the assad regime over the past 20 months. violent extremists are flowing into the fight. our ally turkey has been attacked. the conflict threatens stability in the region. america can take pride in the blows that our military and intelligence professionals have inflicted on al qaeda, pakistan, afghanistan, including the killing of osama bin laden. these are real achievements one at a high cost. al qaeda remains a strong force, however, in yemen and somalia, libya, other parts of north africa, iraq, and now in syria, and other extremists have been ground across the region. drones and modern instruments of war are important tools in our fight, but are no substitute for national security strategy for the middle east. the president is fond of saying that the tide of war is receding. i want to believe him as much as anyone else. but when we look at the middle east today, with iran closer than ever to nuclear weapons capability, with the conflict in syria threatening to destabilize the region, and with a violent extremists on the march, and with an american amba
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